Press Conferences

Press Conference by Foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama

Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 4:30 p.m. Ministry of Foreign Affairs

This is a provisional translation by an external company for reference purpose only.

Opening Remarks

(1) Visit by Parliamentary Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Takei to Barbados and Mexico

Mr. Norio Maruyama, Foreign Press Secretary: In Barbados, he will attend the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Meeting of the Council of Foreign and Community Relations (Foreign Ministers’ Meeting) on May 19 as a Third State. Mr. Takei will deliver a speech on the Japan-CARICOM relationship and hold bilateral meetings with the Barbados Government and officials from various countries. Only three countries have been invited as Third States this time – Japan, Belgium, and Georgia.

In Mexico, Mr. Takei will attend an event commemorating the 120th anniversary of Japanese people moving to Mexico and share views with local government officials and representatives from the local Japanese community. The report issued by a panel of experts on collaboration with local Japanese communities in Central and South America submitted on May 9 cites the necessity of strengthening collaboration with these communities.

(2) Attendance by Gen Nakatani as a Prime Minister Special Envoy at the Timor-Leste Presidential Inauguration and a Ceremony Commemorating the 15th Anniversary of Timor-Leste’s Independence

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: The inauguration ceremony for Mr. Francisco Guterres Lu Olo, the incoming President, will take place on May 19-20 following results from the presidential election in The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste conducted in March 2017. There will also be a ceremony commemorating the 15th anniversary of Timor-Leste’s independence.

Japan has decided to dispatch Mr. Gen Nakatani, a member of the House of Representatives of the National Diet (President of the Japan-Timor-Leste Parliamentary Friendship League), to the inauguration and independence ceremony events as a special envoy of Mr. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister, in light of the importance of relations between Japan and Timor-Leste. Japan hopes to maintain and advance the positive, friendly relationship between itself and Timor-Leste through the dispatch of Prime Minister Special Envoy Nakatani.

(3) Visit to Japan by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: H.E. Mr. Witold Waszczykowski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland, will visit Japan on May 18.

During his stay, Minister Waszczykowski is scheduled to hold a foreign ministers’ meeting with Mr. Fumio Kishida, Minister for Foreign Affairs, and exchange views on bilateral relations and cooperation in the international arena.

This visit to Japan by Minister Waszczykowski is expected to further advance the relationship between Japan and Poland.

(4) Visit to Japan by Mr. Roberto Azêvedo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO)

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: From May 21 to 23, Mr. Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), will make a working visit to Japan upon invitation by the Minister for Foreign Affairs. The visit by the Director-General was originally scheduled from May 15 to 18 but was suddenly postponed due to circumstances at the WTO. The visit was subsequently rescheduled for the upcoming dates.

During his stay in Japan, Director-General Azevêdo is scheduled to meet with high-levels of the Government of Japan. He will also exchange opinions with relevant organizations.

The multilateral trading system centered upon the WTO is the basis of global trade and a pillar of Japanese trade policies. In the exchange of opinions between high-levels of the Government of Japan and Director-General Azevêdo, various issues such as promoting free trade and maintaining and strengthening the multilateral trading system are planned to be discussed.

(5) Establishment of the Investment Policy Office

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: On May 15, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs established the Investment Policy Office for centralized formulation and implementation of investment-related policies within the Economic Affairs Bureau.

The Japanese Government prepared the “Action Plan on Promoting Conclusion of Investment-Related Agreements and Improving the Investment Environment” (Action Plan) with an understanding of the growing role of investment in the Japanese economy and importance of investment-related agreements in supporting investment activities. This initiative aims to achieve signing and effectuation of investment agreements in 100 countries and regions by 2020. Furthermore, investment-related discussions have picked up in international forums in recent years. Establishment of the Investment Policy Office takes into account these conditions.

The Investment Policy Office will prepare strategies, including selection of negotiation counterparts for investment agreements, and pursue promotion of negotiations for investment agreements, while collaborating with the various Ministry divisions in charge of these regions, in order to implement the Action Plan.

Through these efforts, it will establish and strengthen negotiation teams with reach across the government in order to promote completion of investment agreements and actively promote creation of rules and establishment of an environment that further stimulates investment activities involving Japan.

Visit to Japan by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland

Takemoto, Kyodo Press: Regarding the visit by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland, can you tell us what you know about the timing of the exchange of views with Minister Kishida, the purpose of the visit to Japan, and whom the Minister will be meeting with.

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: As to the Minister’s itinerary, etc., an explanation will be provided at a separate briefing (Press Division note: There will be a press release instead of an advance briefing). Regarding the visit itself, Poland is a major country in the European Union (EU), and cooperation with Poland is important in strengthening ties between Japan and the EU. There are the issues of the Japan-EU economic partnership agreement (EPA) and the Japan-EU strategic partnership agreement (SPA). It is very valuable to have a cooperative relationship with Poland to promote these efforts.

Furthermore, it is important to share views on regional conditions. Closer ties with Poland are extremely important for conditions in Europe and Asia. This year marks the 60th anniversary of restoring diplomatic relations. Japan hopes to reinforce the bilateral relationship with Poland.

Takemoto, Kyodo Press: You mentioned a briefing, but isn’t this just an arrival and meeting tomorrow?

Foreign Press Secretary Maruyama: I’ll confirm this and provide an update.

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